Saturday, November 14, 2015

[Review] Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown

Title: Velvet Undercover
Author: Teri Brown
Genre: Young Adult Historical Thriller
Published: October 20th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Samantha Donaldson’s family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a Girl Guide and messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, high-level mathematics, and complex puzzles and codes, hoping to make him proud.When Sam is asked to join the famed women’s spy group La Dame Blanche she’s torn—this could be the adventure she’s dreamed of, but how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband to the war? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes there’s no way she can refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity.Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known to the members of LDB only as Velvet. Deep undercover within the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Samantha must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she finds herself forming a forbidden attraction to the enemy-a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Samantha discover the truth and find Velvet before it’s too late…for them both?From author Teri Brown comes the thrilling story of one girl’s journey into a deadly world of spycraft and betrayal—with unforgettable consequences.

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My thoughts:

This book kind of blew me away to be completely honest. I've never read anything like it. I didn't even expect to enjoy it as much as I did because I generally don't like historical fiction, but this was pretty amazing!

I loved the historical setting for a change... It was really atmospheric and mesmerizing. I enjoyed the plot too and I have to say I didn't see the many twists at the end coming.

Samantha has recently graduated with honors from a special and selective group that educates young women. She has a special talent with languages and codes so she's been approached by a governmental organization, the MI6 trying to recruit her for a dangerous mission as a war spy for England, as a part of the LDB, a group of female spies that work mostly as undercover agents.

Sam's father has been missing for a while and is presumed dead by the government, but she is not satisfied with that answer, so she accepts joining the LDB in exchange for information of her father whereabouts.

Miss Tickford is appointed as Sam's handler and she's the one who'll provide her training and first assignment. Sam has to go undercover as a governess and immerse herself in the German royal family no less. Her mission is to find another undercover agent whose code name is Velvet.

But the mission seems to get more and more difficult as the time goes by and Sam starts to doubt herself at every turn. She will have to choose very carefully who she trusts and will have to keep all her wits about her if she's going to make it out alive.

The whole premise is fascinating. I have only basic knowledge about World War I, so I didn't know much about MI6 and the whole espionage going on, so I don't know if what's going on in this story is historically accurate, but I enjoyed it immensely. There's so much at stake for the protagonist and every tiny bit of information she receives changes everything in her plans, which is definitely a great way to keep a reader on the edge of her seat, thank you very much...

I kept waiting for that dull moment that would make me put the book down and then never return to it again, as it happens often when I pick up historical fiction, but the truth is I couldn't let go of the goddamn book.

The characters the protagonist meets are really interesting and most of them really mysterious too which makes you doubt everyone. I kept yelling at the book like "That's gotta be Velvet!" every time a new character popped up. 

Overall, I think this was a great book and I would love to read more about what happened after everything went down. It has an epilogue and you more or less know what happened at the end so don't get me wrong, you get resolution, but still, the world and characters were so fascinating that I wouldn't mind reading a sequel. I'm glad I gave it a chance!



About the author

Well behaved women rarely make history. Teri Brown lived that quote way before she ever even heard it. The two things she is most proud of, (besides her children), is that she jumped out of an airplane once and she beat the original Legend of Zelda video game. She is a novel writer, head banger, pet keeper, math hater, cocktail drinker, booty shaker, book reader, city slicker, food fixer, French kisser, rule breaker, wine sipper and word scribbler. She loves her husband, kitties and chocolate.

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